Chimpanzees live in a fission-fusion society whereby members of a community can freely join or leave a group at any time. Food normally dictates whether individuals join or avoid a group. When availability of food is low, chimpanzees, especially females with their dependents, tend to avoid groups.
For centuries, medicinal plants used by traditional healers have been at the heart of health care in Tanzania. Today, this is largely because most of the population cannot afford the high price of imported drugs. Sadly, indigenous medical knowledge and the forests where many medicinal plants are found are disappearing at an alarming rate.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, JGI’s Deus Mjungu reports on the Gombe chimpanzees’ latest romantic escapades.
It is the beginning of the termite fishing season at Gombe National Park. During this season, chimpanzees spend a considerable amount of time searching and extracting termites from mounds. Termites are small, nutritious insects. However, due to the insect’s small size, termite fishing requires patience and hard work.
Latin Name: Vitex fischeri
Local Name: Mpapa
Mpapa trees grow in the valleys and lower slopes of Gombe National Park in Tanzania. The trees are tall, up to 70 feet high, and typically possess one straight trunk. The fruiting season usually takes place between late March and the end of April. During a good year, mpapa is one of the most important chimpanzee foods.
JGI's Mary Mavanza recently appeared on Voice of America's "In Focus" to discuss the Institute's work with women and communities in Africa.
Footage coutesy of Voice of America.